Kieran Trippier has revealed the sights and sounds of England’s World Cup dressing room before a match, describing a confident and ultra-relaxed atmosphere as the players prepare for Saturday’s quarter-final against France. The defender talked up the team spirit that Gareth Southgate has fostered – a key comfort before the meeting with the world champions – and he illustrated the point by calling out Jordan Pickford for his love of “horrific” rave music.
“Everyone is relaxed, so is Gareth,” Trippier said. “He takes his meeting and then we get in the dressing room and listen to some horrific songs from some of the lads. Whose horrific music is it? Pickford’s. Honestly, he has the worst taste in music.
“Everyone is having banter as they always are, doing their rehab, their stretching before games. Everyone prepares differently. Some play two-touch, some do stretching, some just chill and get a massage. Everyone’s relaxed. Especially this tournament, everyone’s been brilliant. We’ve got a great atmosphere and before games everyone’s just focused on the game.”
It was put to Trippier that he made it sound as if he and his teammates were about to go for a Sunday kickaround. “That’s how relaxed we are,” he replied. “We’ve got a great chemistry as a team. Ultimately that comes down from the staff. I love every moment and everyone else does. We know it’s going to be an entertaining game for everyone against France. We’re relaxed, we’re ready and hopefully we can do everyone proud.”
Trippier said the squad had enjoyed a visit from Robbie Williams at the team hotel on Wednesday night. Williams, who is a big Port Vale fan, sang a few of his songs. “It’s the first time I’ve ever met him and I’ve got say he’s a great guy,” Trippier said. “Really down to earth. In these little moments, everyone’s buzzing around the place and to hear him sing was great for everyone going into a big game.”
Trippier believes the squad have grown from their experiences at the previous two tournaments – the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when they reached the semi-finals, and Euro 2020, when they were beaten in the final – with their greater maturity reflected in a clean disciplinary record. England have received no red or yellow cards.
“We are a really disciplined team and we have spoken about not wanting to miss a game, picking up stupid yellows for throwing the ball away or stuff like that,” Trippier said. “Obviously you might need to take a tactical foul and you can’t help that. But it’s always important you keep 11 men on the pitch and you don’t give silly yellow cards away and have important players missing massive games.
“Since Russia we’ve come so far as a team and as individuals. Every single one of us, if we’re playing or not, gives everything for the shirt and we’re all ready when called upon. We shouldn’t be ashamed to say we want to win the World Cup.”
There has been an inevitable spotlight on the France striker Kylian Mbappé, who has lit up the tournament, but Trippier knows it will be equally vital to stifle the attacking midfielder Antoine Griezmann, with whom he played at Atlético Madrid. Trippier lived in the exclusive La Finca neighbourhood of Madrid with Griezmann and other Atlético players, and had a good relationship with him on and off the field.
“La Finca is like St George’s Park but bigger,” Trippier said. “We would finish training at 11.30am, the sun is shining and you are having barbecues. What more can you ask for? Every player would host. We would go round each other’s houses as it was 10 seconds away. It was brilliant.
“Griezy is the joker of the dressing room, one of those bubbly guys, always doing pranks from morning until evening. On the field, even in training, he is clever where he picks up space. He just drifts. He has the individual quality to find a pass, score a goal and arrive in the box. He is certainly a player to keep an eye on.”